Focusing on what matters
Thursday, January 27, 2011
First of all, thanks so much for all the comments on my post yesterday. I'm so glad so many of you are still around!
It's been a crazy week for me. My grandmother passed away suddenly last Sunday and it was a complete shock to my family. She was relatively young (73) and otherwise healthy and active. She had a heart attack. I flew back to Saskatchewan to the little town that I grew up in to be with my family for 5 days. I've only been there a few times since I moved away to Toronto 8 years ago. Although in many ways it was different than I remembered, much of it was the same, I had just forgotten.
What I mean by that is, I had forgotten how everyone in a small town knows everyone else's business (especially my Grandma). But it's really because they care and if it wasn't that way then my grandma wouldn't have been found as quickly as she was. She was missed immediately by friends and family with whom she kept in contact daily. There was nothing that could have been done to save her (but at least she didn't suffer) but it would have been awful to find out that she had been laying there for days before anyone missed her.
At first I thought of all the regrets I had. I should have called more. I wish I could have made it back to see her over Christmas. If only I had one more chance to talk to her and tell her that I loved her. But we don't.
Then I realized that I had had a really nice chat with her around Christmas time and I said I love you before we hung up. I know she knew anyways, but still. We also figured out that my dad had been there the morning she died and she was fine. He drove home (my parents don't live there anymore either) and called to let her know he was home safe. She died about an hour later. You just never know.
Once I got over the initial shock I knew that even though I was upset, it was even more important for me to be there for my dad. Spending time with cousins and aunts and uncles and neighbours that knew me when I was a baby really comforted me. No matter how infrequently I see them, we have a bond that can't really be matched by people with whom I haven't shared my childhood.
After the stress and tears and a really nice funeral, it was time for the party, just like my Grandma would have wanted. We drank and carried on and told Grandma stories well into the night and it was a wonderful time. Old neighbours and teachers reminded me of what a terror I was when I was little and one of my dad's friend's sons who used to babysit me said that I bit him once. So it was good times all around, reliving memories and vowing to keep in touch more. I really hope that this time I can mean it and really try to keep in touch, both with old friends and new. Because it really is true that sometimes you don't know what you've got till it's gone.